Safaricom Forced to Evacuate Staff From Ethiopia Amid Conflict

Image courtesy Eduardo Soteras/AFP via Getty Images

Ethiopia’s ongoing armed conflict and civil unrest seem to have disrupted Safaricom operations in the populous nation, forcing the telco to evacuate its employees, as reported by Business Daily.

This follows the recent licence issuance to Safaricom by the Ethiopian government, granting its the rights to operate there. The telco has since been making plans to start operations in the country. However, the plans have been paused as the firm flew its staff out of the country on Wednesday and Friday.

A number of nations have also been recommending for their citizens in Ethiopia to leave while commercial flights are still available. This is as Tigrayan rebel forces and their allies continue to advance towards the country’s capital, Addis Ababa.

“All our staff are safe. A number have been evacuated from Ethiopia on a temporary basis whilst we assess the situation,” said a top official at Safaricom.

“They were evacuated on Wednesday and others on Friday last week,” said another source based in Addis. Safaricom has not publicly commented on the impact of the conflict on its operations in Ethiopia.

Safaricom, alongside other partners, plans to start operations next year, after which the telco will gradually look to reduce Kenyan expertise and build a local workforce as the business expands.

The operations in the Horn of Africa country will be through an operating company that will have its own CEO and a full management team.

However, the situation in the nation is expected to escalate further causing supply chain shortages, communication blackouts and travel disruptions. This is according to the U.S. Embassy that also reports that incidents of civil unrest and ethnic violence are occurring without warning.

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